Scroll to Continue
Adult males range from 40 to 52 feet and can weigh up to 45 tons. Despite their size, humpback whales are graceful acrobats. Keep your eye on the ocean and you might see one breach, propelling up to 40 percent of its body out of the water and landing on its side with a spectacular splash.
Whales have great cultural significance for Native Hawaiians. They play a large role in Hawaiian legend—including one creation story—and appear in ancient petroglyphs on several islands. The return of the kohola (humpback whale) is considered more of a homecoming than a visit. Humpback whales are born in Hawaiian waters, making them kamaaina (native born). Some Native Hawaiians also believe the whales are aumakua (family guardians), so these gentle giants are treated with great respect.
Cultural Significance of Whales in Hawaii
Although humpback whales can be seen from all of the Hawaiian Islands, the shallow Auau Channel between Maui, Molokai and Lanai is one of the best whale-watching destinations in the world.
What's the Best Way to See Whales?
You may also spot kohola from the southern shores of Oahu, especially at Makapuu Lighthouse and along the seaside overlooks near Leahi (Diamond Head).
Kauai offers a range of whale-viewing opportunities, including Poipu Beach on the South Shore, Kilauea Lighthouse on the North Shore and Kapaa Overlook on the island’s Coconut Coast.
On the island of Hawaii, whales are often seen along the shores of the Kohala Coast, as well as Hilo Bay on the east side of the island. The Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site is another great viewing spot, with its sweeping, elevated views near Kawaihae Harbor. In fact, Puukohola literally means “hill of the whale” in Hawaiian.
Boat tours may be your best option for viewing whales up close. Hawaii has dozens of tour operators, including a few that lead kayak excursions—a thrilling way to experience these majestic mammals.
In respect for the kohola and the safety of sightseers, all watercraft must stay a minimum of 100 yards from the whales, but you'll be surprised how close you feel when a 45-ton behemoth lunges out of the sea. If a boat tour is not for you, the whales’ impressive acrobatic displays are often visible from miles away. If you're on land, keep a pair of binoculars handy because you never know when you'll see a humpback’s spout (which can be 10–20 feet tall).
On the State and National Register of Historic Places, Anna Ranch is a Museum and Heritage Center located in Waimea, Hawaii Island. It celebrates the history of ranching in Hawaii. Anna Ranch Heritage Center offers a picturesque event facility for special gatherings.
Waipa Foundation manages the scenic Waipa Ahupua'a, found along Kauai's north shore, as a cultural & community center. Waipa grows and distributes food, educates and inspires community youth and families, hosts a weekly market plus seasonal festivals, and offers transformative eco-cultural programs.
Royal Hawaiian Limousine & Tours-Hawaii's Leader in Quality Transportation, offering Oahu's largest and newest fleet of ultra-luxurious stretch limousines, sedans, SUVs, vans, town cars and deluxe mini buses. Each of our chauffeurs goes through extensive background checks & driver's safety training.
We offer multiple whale watching tours as well as half day snorkeling adventures daily during whale season. Our high speed eco rafts are available for private charters. You can customize your own whale watch, half day, mid- day, or full day snorkeling experience.
Moose's is a popular hang-out for locals and visitors. Breakfast, lunch and dinner served daily. Live band, dancing 'til 3:30am & Hawaii's longest running Bikini Contest every Sunday. 1/2 priced drinks & appetizers served daily during Happy Hour.
Ride a real Navy Seal Assault Boat. This is an exhilarating adventure ride/snorkel trip to remote and secluded areas along the Kona coast, combined with a fast boat ride and animal close encounters. (dolphin,whale watch, shark)